KOLKATA: Alarmed over reports of rapid depletion of ground and surface water in the state and increasing arsenic and fluoride pollution, the West Bengal government has ordered a water census in the entire state.
The work, which began from Wednesday, would be completed within March next year, state water investigation development minister Nanda Gopal Bhattacharya said.
The centrally funded Rs 1.22 crore project, involving 11,000 employees of the department, would take a detailed count of all wells, tube wells and clusters operating in the state, the minister said.
The number of ponds, filled up over the years, would also be taken into account, he added.
“Ground water level has dropped six metres below the mean sea level. Water level in the districts in south Bengal is also falling,” a worried Bhattacharya said adding that this was leading to increase in water pollution.
To cope with the situation, his department had already tied up with the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre to undertake a joint study on the genesis of arsenic pollution in the state, he said.
The government has also decided to set up a state-of-the-art laboratory and two mobile laboratories in each district in the state.
Over 500 tube wells fitted with arsenic filters will also be set up in Murshidabad, Nadia and North 24 Parganas, he said.